Introverted Characters 101

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Jerex Sol
Lost One
Posts: 1138
Joined: Tue Apr 23, 2013 10:54 pm

Introverted Characters 101

Post by Jerex Sol »

So I was recently asked if I would write up a guide on introverted characters, and how you can successfully portray them with enough life-like personality as any other fun-loving, outgoing, happy-go-lucky extrovert. I can easily say that it is not always easy to successfully pull off, as an introverted character can quite possibly take a lot of work until the character truly begins to feel like their own person. The most important aspect of an introverted character is the depth and complexity of their own personality. Unfortunately, due to the inherent nature of an introvertive character, that depth and complexity can sometimes be very hard to properly express, and it may be quite some time before you get into a situation where you can express it in the first place. But at the same time, without that depth, it is easy for others to see your character as just an emotionless robot, sitting off in a corner of the server, brooding. As such, the character will seem boring, unresponsive, and will be ill-received. Especially since that even the most stoic of personalities will show some kind of emotional response at times, which I will go over later.

Introverts are drained by social encounters and energized by solitary, often creative pursuits. Their disposition is frequently misconstrued as shyness, social phobia or even an avoidant personality disorder, but many introverts socialize easily. They just strongly prefer not to. Introverts are often not spontaneous, they are not talkative, or particularly playful in their everyday attitude, but by no means does that mean they can’t be outgoing. Nor are all introverts pillars of logic and relativistic fact that they are often seen as, though admittedly a proportionally large percentage of them are logically oriented in their patterns of thinking. Some introverted characters can even be portrayed as relatively outgoing, and friendly.

For example; Felicity is a charming girl that finds it easy to make connections with others, and has a talent for warm, sensitive language, speaking in human terms, rather than with pure logic and fact. Therefore, you could easily mistake Felicity as more of an extroverted character, however, Felicity often needs time alone to decompress and recharge, and that you should not be alarmed by her sudden withdrawals. Because of these character traits Felicity takes great care of other’s feelings, and she expects the favor to be returned – sometimes that means giving her the space she needs/desires for a few days. However, Felicity’s sensitivity to others works both ways, and often manifests itself when faced against conflict and criticism. This sensitivity forces her to do everything she can to evade these seemingly personal attacks, but when the circumstances are unavoidable, she tends to fight back in highly irrational, and unhelpful ways. In truth, an introverted individual can be more empathic and interpersonally connected than his or her extroverted counterparts.

That basic character outline is just one of the many ways that you could begin with to play an introverted character. Another positive example would be about a seemingly clueless guy named Shawn. Shawn may appear to drift about in an unending daydream, but Shawn’s thought process is unceasing, and his mind buzzes with ideas from the moment he wakes up. This constant thinking can have the effect of making him look pensive and detached, as he is often conducting full-fledged debates in his own head, but really he is quite relaxed and friendly when he is with people he knows, or who share his interests. If the person Shawn is speaking with shares, and is interested in, his own ideas, the conversation quickly becomes dominated by his own border-line incoherent rant as he tries to explain the daisy-chain of logical conclusions that led to the formation of his latest idea or plan within this interest. On the opposite side however, this can be replaced by overwhelming shyness when Shawn is among unfamiliar faces, and friendly banter can quickly become combative if he believes his logical conclusions or theories are being criticized or rejected.

I could go on and on about different character examples for this, but I will end this part of it with this; Even though introverts are often seen as logic oriented intellectuals, this leaves them with an often poorly portrayed personality quirk. Their emotions. Logic has very little to do with emotion, and as such is often a very sparingly explored area of concentration for their thought processes. Because of this this often leaves them with an under-developed understanding of their own emotional processes, much less others. However, as with every single person, your character doesn’t have to fit any stereotypes of any personality type, this does not mean that this is always the case. In the example I gave regarding the character ‘Felicity’, she was quite focused on making emotional connections with others, and was very capable of making empathic connections with others. The line between introversion and the “lonely loners” too often gets blurry, as some introverts do wish to break out of their shell once in a while and speak with those around them, to share ideas and thoughts and form meaningful connections and bonds.

The second most important aspect of playing an introverted character is your ::actions::, it has helped me a great deal to portray an introvert correctly through actions by thinking of them as what you can physically see your character doing. As an example emote portraying what I mean by this, ::Bradley takes a moment to stop between the two trees, looking between the two of them with an earnest curiosity. Extends a hand to place his palm against the rough bark, his brows lowering in thought as he drags his open hand downwards against it::. That emote is what I would consider perfect. It gives you no clue as to what Bradley is actually thinking, but it does tell you that he is thinking about something. At that point, you have successfully shown that you are not just staring straight ahead while a fly buzzes around your open drooling mouth, and it is up to those around you to act on that emote and ask you what you are thinking. If they do not, then that is ‘fine’. You can then choose to either share what your character was thinking, or have them keep it to themselves. More often than not, they will choose to keep it to themselves, even when directly asked what they were thinking about. Because! They can easily share what they were thinking at the time, they just prefer not to.

What does this mean for your character? More often than not, people will not push to know what it was you were thinking at the time. This can lead to an endless cycle of repetition of you performing a similar ‘thoughtful’ emote, waiting for others to act on it, and if they even do, do you choose to divulge those thoughts? This is where I believe many people get caught up when playing these types of characters. It is too easy to fall into this pattern and not even realize it. As an introverted character, you WILL have interests. And those interests will push you to leave your box, your own private zone of comfort and solitude, and actively seek out others to expand your knowledge within the area that interests your character, whether that be the Force, your lightsaber, or even the technology of the universe that we portray these characters in. And it will happen often, because the upside of shying away from social contact, is that it leaves you with copious amounts of time to actively pursue the interests your character has acquired, or the latest idea or project that he has started.
Species: Arkanian| Born: 302.23| Languages: Arkanian, Basic| Initiated: 316.17| Noviced: 320.25 | Knighted: 340.20
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